Calgary & Southern Alberta Self-Drive Adventure

9 Days / 8 Nights

Discover the remarkable terrain and unique experiences that await in the Canadian Badlands on this 8 night self-drive through Southern Alberta. Explore Canada’s largest dinosaur museum before traveling to Dinosaur Provincial Park to discover real dinosaur skeletons and get up close with the Canadian Badlands.

You’ll also get to explore Cypress Hills Provincial Park and Waterton Lakes National Park and discover 6000 years of history at Head-Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This itinerary is perfect for those looking to get a hands-on travel experience in Southern Alberta’s most beautiful and historical regions.


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Day 1

Own arrival to Calgary

2Nts stay at International Hotel in a Studio Suite – includes daily buffet breakfast

Day 2

Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Every building tells a story. Calgary’s downtown spins a yarn of a brash frontier town that has grown into a lively urban centre. Walk with us (outside as weather permits – or inside using our +15 Skywalk network) as we straddle with one foot in the past and one in the present, following a “ribbon of steel” through the heart of the city.

As your tour guide navigates around such areas as Stephen Avenue Mall (no cars allowed 6 am to 6 pm), the Bow River Pathway, and other downtown areas, you’ll have an on-the-ground experience that Google Earth could never deliver. You’ll learn where Calgarians go for fine food and dining and discover where some favourite spots to shop in downtown are located. We’ll even talk about accessing free public transit in the downtown core to make your own exploring more enjoyable.

You may hear the echoes of history at the site of an 1880’s sawmill and the location of the 1988 Winter Olympics awards ceremonies – and perhaps modern day music from the Folk Fest held at Prince’s Island Park.

This tour is approximately 2.3-3km long and is lead at an easy walking pace.

Calgary Tower Admission tickets

Located 191 metres above the downtown core, the Calgary Tower offers the best view in the city and is a must-see on any visitor’s itinerary. On the Observation Deck you’ll experience a spectacular 360° view of the bustling city and the majestic Rocky Mountains. Stand on the amazing glass floor for a birds-eye view of the city streets below.

Day 3 : Calgary to Drumheller (135KM)

Depart Calgary, heading east toward Drumheller. There is nowhere quite likethe Drumheller Valley; Dinosaur Capital of Canada! Being here will take youinto another world – the world of startling contrasts between the deep pastand the exciting present. Rolling fields suddenly give way to steep, drycoulees ridged with the strata of hundreds of years of erosion by time,wind and water. Don’t miss the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (included) – Canada’s largest dinosaur museum where you can journeythrough time and come face-to-face with incredible creatures that livedmillions of years ago.

Overnight Canalta Jurassic Hotel

Day 4 : Drumheller to Dinosaur Provincial Park to Cypress Hills Provincial Park (336km)

From Drumheller, travel two hours to Dinosaur Provincial Park, where youwill have a chance escape the ordinary and venture into the ruggedCanadian Badlands. The Explorer’s Bus Tour (included) provides theopportunity to experience the stunning views of the park’s NaturalPreserve from the comfort and safety of the tour bus. You will be gettingoff the bus at various stops to see the badlands and fossils up close andpersonal. One stop includes a full body (articulated skeleton) of aCorythosaurus, the “helmet headed lizard”. Continue to Cypress HillsProvincial Park – the hidden gem of Southern Alberta (about 2 hours and 40minutes), you’ll overnight in Elkwater.

2nts Elkwater Lake Lodge & Resort

Day 5 : Cypress Hills Provincial Park Exploring

At Cypress Hills Provincial Park, you can visit the Interpretive ProgramSchedule to book an interpretive hike or Dark Sky Planetarium experienceto learn how to navigate the bright stars and constellations. Enjoy an arrayof outdoor adventures for any activity level; head over to the InterpretiveCentre in Elkwater, where you can rent a bike, canoe, paddleboard, kayak,pedal boat, and GPS system for geo-caching scavenger hunts. Try dinner atthe Camp Cookhouse for a rustic gourmet experience with dishes preparedby one of Canada’s Top Chef’s and made with local ingredients (activitiesand admissions not included).

Day 6 : Cypress Hills Provincial Park to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Parkto Lethbridge (297 km)

Travel west on the Red Coat Trail toward Writing-on-Stone Provincial Parkto experience the largest concentration of rock art on the plains. Explorethis National Historic Site with an interpreter, lounge by the bubbling MilkRiver and hike the hoodoo trails. Visit the Interpretive Centre for a behindthe scenes guided experience with a local aboriginal guide to explore theArchaeological Preserve.

Drive approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes fromWriting-On-Stone to Lethbridge where you’ll spend the night.

Overnight at Sandman Hotel Lethbridge

Day 7 : Lethbridge to Waterton Lakes National Park (119 km)

On your way out of Lethbridge, you may wish to stop in at Fort Whoop-Up,an old fort and outlaw trading post, allowing visitors to step into life at afrontier outpost on the Great Plains, to discover exhibits about Canada’s firstMounties, whiskey and firearms traders and Blackfoot history and culture(not included). In Waterton, stroll through the town to shop, dine at therestaurants, visit the beach or hike the trails that start from the town site.You may wish to visit the Prince of Wales Hotel – a National Historic Site – forafternoon tea and lots of opportunities to take amazing photographs.

2nts at Bayshore Inn

Day 8 : Waterton Lakes National Park Exploring

The day is yours to discover the wonders of this beautiful region. You maywish to travel to Montana’s Glacier National Park (the U.S. half of thisInternational Peace Park) via the famous Going to the Sun Road, anastonishing feat of engineering and spectacular scenery as well. A popularactivity is the 16-km drive from the Waterton town site to Red Rock Canyon -a colourful canyon of red, green and white banded rock cliffs, green alpineforests and bubbling white waterfalls.

Day 9 : Waterton to Calgary (290 km)

Travel north for 1 hour and 10 minutes to experience Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that tells the story ofthe hunting practice of the native people of the North American plains forthe past 6000 years. A native guide leads you through the exhibit and out tothe cliff jump, sharing the history and lifestyle of the first people. There mayeven be drumming in the plaza. Continue north for 2 hours to Calgary where your tour ends.

Package Includes:

Canada & Alaska Destinations